THE grandson of a Lord Mayor of Cork who died on hunger strike in an English prison in 1920 attended the unveiling of a new cast bronze sculpture to honor his memory.
Chapter Mayor Terence MacSwiney died on hunger strike in Brixton Jail in October 1920 in what turned out to be one of the most critical events of the Revolutionary War.
The death of Cork’s first citizen – who became Lord Mayor of Cork after his friend and predecessor Tomas MacCurtain was murdered by a Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) gang in March 1920 – influenced independence fighters worldwide, including Mahatma Gandhi.
Busts of Terence MacSwiney and Tomas MacCurtain are now in Cork City Hall.
However, the new bronze sculpture by John Coll aims to further honor MacSwiney’s memory and commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death.
The artwork was unveiled by Public Expenditure Secretary Michael McGrath in a ceremony attended by Cathal MacSwiney Brugha, grandson of Terence MacSwiney.
Michael O’Flynn of the O’Flynn Group sponsored the new bust.
Mr Coll’s bust of MacSwiney is a fascinating addition to the famous marble head created by Albert Power and now in the Cork Public Museum.
The Independence Museum Kilmurry collection includes material from the Terence MacSwiney Memorial Museum, opened in 1965 by Maire MacSwiney Brugha, Terence MacSwiney’s only child.
The museum retains a close relationship with the MacSwiney Brugha family and holds an important collection of MacSwiney artifacts, including a rare copy of his death mask.
John Coll is one of Ireland’s leading figurative sculptors and his work is in several national collections.
His commissions include monuments to writers Patrick Kavanagh and Brendan Behan along Dublin’s canals, both popular city landmarks.
He recently completed a portrait of a Tuachtarán Michael D. Higgins, who opened the new purpose-built museum building in Kilmurry in 2016.
The sculpture is on display at Independence Museum Kilmurry as part of their permanent collection.
Aidan O’Sullivan, vice chairman of the KHAA, said it was an important event for local heritage.
“It is a fitting memorial to Terence MacSwiney on the centenary of his death on hunger strike,” he said.
John Coll said he wanted to capture the duality of the Irish patriot’s personality.
“I tried to express the two sides of MacSwiney’s personality in this sculpture, the strength and determination of the idealist and the humanity and sensitivity of the man.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/grandson-of-lord-mayor-of-cork-who-died-on-hunger-strike-in-1920-attends-unveiling-of-cast-bronze-sculpture-in-his-honour-41605258.html Grandson of the Lord Mayor of Cork, who died on hunger strike in 1920, attends the unveiling of a cast bronze sculpture in his honour